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Customization vs Renovation – How to avoid becoming a fainting goat

The difference between doing a home renovation or buying a new home from a builder.

Buying a new home from a builder can be a fun and rewarding experience. You get to choose your lot from those available based on your needs or desires. You may choose the extra-large pie shaped lot that backs on to a forest, or you choose one that faces West so you can enjoy the even sun in your backyard. Next you review the available plans and choose a model that meets the needs of your family and lifestyle.

Now comes the fun part. You get to choose your finishes, the ones the builder allows you to choose. It might be a choice of hardwood, ceramic tiles, vinyl tile or carpet. Next you’ll get to choose the doors on the cabinetry throughout the home. Maybe you like dark doors or light doors. Maybe you prefer traditional to modern style. The builder will have a limited range of styles and colours for you to choose from in their design centre. And this is the major difference between doing a home renovation and “customizing” a builder home. LIMITED RANGE.

In a home renovation project you have literally millions of combinations of materials to choose from.

Let’s just start with one, the lowly bathroom faucet. You know, the one you use to brush your teeth and wash your face? You don’t give it a lot of thought but that faucet is available as a center set, single handle, spread fit, bridge, wall-mount or sprinkle (waterfall). And they are all available in various base materials such as brass, stainless steel, zinc or plastic (I’m talking about the most common ones because you can get gold as well!). So, we have six different types of faucet available in 4 different materials. That’s 1296 different () taps to choose from. Now if we add the styles available, and let’s just choose one well known faucet manufacturer that lists 52 different styles to the mix we get…. Oops! Broke my calculator! It’s 7.1690247511e+161.

In a renovation, you have the ability to choose anything you want. Any shape any colour any material, ANYTHING! And therein lies the problem. There are so many choices for faucets, sinks, flooring, lighting and paint colours (the list goes on…) that homeowners can become paralyzed from making a decision and moving forward with their reno. Think fainting goat syndrome (if you don’t know what that is, watch this video:

The sheer choice of selections can not only paralyze your decision-making abilities it can also completely derail your budget. Let’s use that faucet manufacturer as an example. On their website faucets start at $98 and go to $1,192. Yes, $1,192 to brush your teeth. Or 12 faucets for the price of one.

That’s why it is so important for most homeowners to engage a professional design-build firm to help guide them through the complex process of home remodeling. It may be redesigning a full kitchen and dining room for more function or a completely new basement development, either way there are hundreds of decisions to be made, from style to functionality to cost. A reputable design-build company has the experience of guiding you through the process and helping you make those decisions whilst keeping you on track and on budget with no fainting.


ARTium Design-Build is Ottawa's premier, award-winning, design-build firm. Since 1999 we have focused on nothing but the design and construction of exceptional living spaces. If you are serious about investing in your lifestyle, investing in your home and investing in your family; we are here to help.

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